The Chicago Bulls faced the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook with a lineup that featured an under the weather Jimmy Butler who was recently named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
The result was fairly predictable. OKC routed the Bulls 109-94 and shredded the Bulls defense. This game wasn’t very close for most of the second half. The Thunder led Chicago by 22 to start the fourth quarter and had a sizable lead for most of the third quarter.
Three Thunder players scored 20 or more points. Guard Russell Westbrook again was relentless, just missing a triple-double, scoring 21 points, handing out 14 assists, and grabbing 9 rebounds. The front court of the Thunder dominated the Bulls with Steven Adams scoring 22 points and Enes Kantor, came off the bench, scored 20 and hauled in 11 boards. Guard Victor Oladipo scored 13.
With Westbrook playing at unheard of levels, he nearly averages a triple-double in recent games, OKC is hard to beat.
The Bulls simply could not keep up. The Thunder’s front-line dominated the game. It left the Bulls to hoist up shots which were not falling. Chicago shot 40.5% from the field, not exactly firing on all cylinders. Throw in a benched Rajon Rondo for another game, and you had a frustrating night, if you were a Bulls fan.
Some nights they can bring it. This was not one of those nights. Especially with an ailing Butler who gave it his best. He only scored 1 point in 28+ minutes. Dwyane Wade led the Bulls with 22 points. He didn’t have much help in this game. Guard Michael Carter-Williams is playing his way to the starting lineup, ended with 15 points. Cristiano Felicio, the reserve forward, had a good night in scoring 11 points with 11 rebounds. Jerian Grant, the young guard, came off the bench to add 11 points.
Some key statistics: The Thunder shot nearly 57% and they had 30 assists compared to Chicago’s 18. Their offense was efficient and Westbrook is the player that make it go. He just keeps going and going.
The Bulls for all their talent, can’t seem to score enough points, except when Butler is on his game. Wade is a great support to him, but there isn’t the consistent third or fourth option that Coach Hoiberg can rely on.
Chicago was going for its fourth straight win, but didn’t have the man-power tonight.